February 6, 2018 |
January saw two races run as part of the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association/ EBF Mares’ Novices’ Chase Series. The 12-race series, which is jointly sponsored with the European Breeders’ Fund, aims to provide opportunities for mares to showcase their ability on the racecourse. The series is run throughout the National Hunt season and accumulates in a final worth £40,000 at the Cheltenham Countryside Day in April.
On January 18, Ludlow hosted the EBF/Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Mares’ Novices’ Chase, which was won impressively by the Kerry Lee-trained Happy Diva. Ridden by Richard Patrick, she tracked the leaders until drawing clear after the last to win comfortably by nine lengths.
Later in the month, it was the turn of Uttoxeter to stage an EBF/ Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Mares’ Novices’ Chase on January 27. This was won by Sparkling River, who is trained by Henry Oliver. The daughter of Indian River, who was bought by her trainer for just £11,500 at the Goffs UK Spring Sale in 2016, has proved highly consistent, winning four times since her purchase. The eight-year-old was ridden prominently by David Crosse before being headed at the fourth fence from home, however she rallied back to win by just under a length, with the Henry Daly-trained Kayfleur close behind in second.